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WEEKEND TOURNAMENTS

#Mulligan: Past, Present Celebrated At Bay HS

A composite photo of the top 3 teams at this weekend’s 2nd Annual George Mulligan Invitational, with Ft Walton Beach in the upper right, Gulf Breeze upper left and Mosley wrestlers (and Bay County champions) in the foreground (Photo submitted by Zach Deaton).

PANAMA CITY — With all the stories — and they’re accurate — about Florida being an emerging power in the sport, it’s easy to forget, sometimes, how much history the sport actually has here.

With the 2nd annual George Mulligan Invitational at Bay, a celebration of both past and present is just as much a fundamental part of the weekend as the grappling that takes place on the mat.

A tournament designed to honor the name of the man who started the first program in Bay County back in 1960 at Bay HS — he also helped start the Mosley and Rutherford programs to boot — got a solid upgrade in talent, both individually and collectively. Just one returner from last year’s slate of 14 champions was able to repeat as champion in 2021.

And, this year saw the tournament title stay in state, as Ft Walton Beach outpointed an 18-team field to win the team title with 303 points.

Gulf Breeze was second with 258.5 points, a point ahead of last year’s runnerup, Mosley, which repeated as Bay County champion by dint of having the highest tournament finish among the six county teams. Niceville (218.5 points) and South Walton (191) rounded out the top five.

Not all teams could receive individual recognition in this recap due to missing results from earlier in the season. That said, full brackets for each weight class can be found HERE.

THE NOTES
Team scores: 1. Ft Walton Beach 303. 2. Gulf Breeze 258.5. 3. Mosley 257.5. 4. Niceville 218.5. 5. South Walton 191. 6. Rutherford 181.5. 7. Rocky Bayou Christian 144.5. 8. Florida High 126. 9. Choctaw 122.5. 10: Tate 116. 11. North Bay Haven 105.5. 12. Ft Walton Beach B 95.5. 13. Arnold 92.5. 14. Bay 85. 15. Bozeman 79. 16. Marianna 63.5. 17. Wewahitchka 42. 18. Graceville 2.
Championship matches —
106: Derrick Williams (Mosley) d. Valarie Solorio (Arnold), 9-5.
113: Calvin Williams (Mosley) p. Elijah Stillgess (Rutherford), 3:26.
120: Brandon Mallin (Ft Walton Beach) p. Ethan Pinto (Niceville), 1:05.
126: Tyler Reeve (Fla High) p. Darius Mailhot (Mosley), 1:10.
132: Colson Elliott (Gulf Breeze) md. Luke Latham (Rocky Bayou), 10-1.
138: Emil Ganim (Fla High) p. Alexander Davidson (Ft Walton Beach), 1:15.
145: Nick Hejke (Mosley) p. Garret Rudick (Gulf Breeze), 1:49.
152: Ian Daily (Gulf Breeze) p. Marquis Muniz (Ft Walton Beach), 2:00.
160: Caleb Tourgee (Ft Walton Beach) p. Nick Kendrick (Mosley), 3:06.
170: Chase Maddox (South Walton) p. Kaydon Lester (Mosley), 3:56.
182: Hunter Dupont (Gulf Breeze) p. Dalton Kovacs (Mosley), 1:16.
195: David Mercado (North Bay Haven) p. Micah Perdue (Fla High), 5:00.
220: Cedric Fairrow (Ft Walton Beach) d. David Polaski (Niceville), 9-4.
285: Robert Willis (Mosley) p. Spencer Mackenzie (Ft Walton beach), 2:56.

Ft Walton Beach’s Cedric Fairrow (left) and Mosley’s Nick Hejke were the 2nd Annual George Mulligan Memorial outstanding wrestlers for upper- and lower-weight divisions respectively (Photo submitted by Zach Deaton).

THE ACES OF THE DAY
Ft Walton Beach: Cedric Fairrow (220) was the tournament’s upper-weight OW, staying unbeaten at 26-0 behind a 4-0 weekend that saw falls over wrestlers from Rutherford, Choctaw and Arnold to reach the final, where he decisioned another Ace to win the bracket and OW award.
Gulf Breeze: Hunter Dupont (182) bagged three falls in 3:01 to take the championship, without going past the first period. Before his pin in the title match, Dupont won by fall in the quarters over North Bay Haven and over Niceville in the semis.
Mosley: Nick Hejke (145) had five pins in 6 minutes and 37 seconds’ worth of mat time in winning the lower-weight OW award for the tournament. Hejke had falls over North Bay Haven, Graceville, Bay and Ft Walton Beach before his pin in the championship match.
Niceville: David Polaski (220) was one of two Eagles to achieve runnerup status. Before losing by decision in the finals, Polaski had pins over wrestlers from Bay, Tate and South Walton — all in the first period — before winning by an 11-5 count over Rutherford in the semis.
South Walton: Chase Maddox (170) was 4-0 on the weekend with three pins — including in the championship round — sandwiching a 12-11 nailbiter of a semifinal win over Niceville. Maddox had earlier pins over wrestlers from Choctaw and Tate.
Rutherford: Keaton Schirmer (152) lost early in the tournament to the eventual champ, but rallied for four wins and compiled the Rams’ top team-point number in taking third. Schirmer had consi-side wins over Marianna (fall), Mosley (7-4 decision), Ft Walton Beach B (6-5 win) and a fall over South Walton for third place.
Rocky Bayou: Luke Latham (132) was the Knights’ lone finalist, with a 3-1 tournament. Before his loss in the finals, Latham had a tech fall over Ft Walton Beach B, an 11-2 major over a defending Mulligan champ in the quarters and a 7-4 win over Tate in the semis.
Florida High: Emil Ganim (138) ran the table with pins all weekend. Before his fall in the final over a fellow Ace, Ganim took pins over wrestlers from Choctaw (second round), North Bay Haven (quarters) and Ft Walton Beach (semis).
Choctaw: Eli Devoid (160) was 4-2 and placed fifth for the Indians, with losses only to the third- and fourth-place wrestlers from Gulf Breeze and Bay, respectively. Devoid had a front-side tech fall over Marianna and consi-side pins over Tate and Bozeman wrestlers before his 9-2 fifth-place win over Rutherford.
North Bay Haven: David Mercado (195) pinned his way through the tournament, with falls over Ft Walton Beach B and Rutherford in the quarters and semis, respectively, before his pin in the championship match as noted above.
Ft Walton Beach B: Alexander Davidson (138) made a run to the final, with a 3-1 weekend that saw victories over Niceville (11-2 major), Tate (first-period fall) and a 3-2 semifinal win over South Walton in getting to the championship match.
Arnold: Valarie Solorio (106) reached the finals behind a pair of bonus-point wins prior to her loss by decision in the championship, with a fall over Rutherford in the quarters and 12-2 major over Ft Walton Beach in the semis.
Bay: Corban Cherry (145) was 4-2 and one of two Tornado wrestlers with losses only to the champion and 3rd (Ft Walton Beach). Cherry had a front-side pin over Florida High, and consi-side victories over North Bay Haven and Florida High, plus a forfeit.
Bozeman: Aireous Rocha (285) was sixth in his first tournament with the Bucks, with a 2-3 weekend that saw all of his losses come against wrestlers higher on the podium (runnerup, third and fifth). Rocha had pins in the consi bracket over North Bay Haven and Tate wrestlers en route to his top-six finish.
Marianna: Marquis Patterson-Rhodes (182) was fifth, his team’s highest finish on the weekend, as he was 2-2 with losses to the third- and fourth-place wrestlers from Niceville and Rocky Bayou. Patterson-thodes had consi-side pins over Rocky Bayou and South Walton wrestlers.
Wewahitchka: Jake Parker (106) was fifth, the top finish for the Gators, after a 4-2 tournament, with both losses coming against South Walton. Parker had consi-side pins over wrestlers from North Bay Haven, Rutherford, a Gator teammate and over Rocky Bayou in the fifth-place match.
Graceville: Cayden McQueen (220) had a win by forfeit for his team’s only points, after three earlier losses by fall, for the independent program.

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WEEKEND TOURNAMENTS

#Challenge: Creekside Wins Inaugural Trophy

Wolfson coach and inaugural Wolfpack Challenge host Scott Marabell (left) hands the championship trophy to Creekside coach Rick Marabell, his brother, after the Knights’ Black side took first place on Saturday (Photo submitted by Rick Marabell via Facebook).

JACKSONVILLE — It wasn’t all that long ago that Creekside, Matanzas and Bartram Trail clashed in head-to-head fashion for the 2A-District 4 title.

That’s no longer the case, with the St Johns Knights and Bears now in 3A, but the three teams invaded Duval County from the south and wreaked a fair share of havoc on Saturday at the inaugural Wolfson Challenge one-day IBT event.

Creekside, split into two squads, saw its Black side put 10 wrestlers into the finals (three winning titles) and total up 224.5 points, 31 ahead of Matanzas and 60 ahead of the third-place Bears.

Matanzas had 11 placers (as did Creekside Black), with four champions. Bartram Trail matched the Pirates’ champion total and had seven placers in the top four, six of those as finalists.

Host Wolfson was the city’s top team in the 13-team field, with 129 points and eight top-four finishes, with one champ and one runnerup. Robert E Lee rounded out the top five, with 74 points, four placers (three finalists) and one champion.

Note: Individual notes for all teams could not be listed due to missing results. Full results for all teams can be found HERE.

THE NOTES
Team scores: 1. Creekside Black 224.5. 2. Matanzas 193.5. 3. Bartram Trail 164.5. 4. Wolfson 129. 5. Robert E Lee 74. 6. Atlantic Coast 59. 7. (tie) Bishop Snyder & Terry Parker 48. 9. Creekside Red 43. 10. Paxon 42. 11. Ribault 24. 12. Stanton 18. 13. Baldwin 10.
Championship matches —
106: Ethan Vugman (BT) p. Andrew Feeks (CrB).
113: Connor Wright (CrB) p. Samual Harris (Wolfson).
120: Mayhem Woolsey (BT) p. Hunter England (CrB).
126: Trevor Tagarelli (BT) p. Christian Villanueva (Sny).
132: Logan Mayer (Mat) d. Cathan Simpson (CrB).
138: Preston Pena (BT) p. Noah Connahey (CrB).
145: Jeff Brown (TP) p. Grady Hutchinson (BT).
152: Tyson Mills (Mat) p. Diego Rivera (CrB).
160: Jordan Mills (Mat) p. Breon Jordon (Rib).
170: Ahmahd Denmark (Lee) p. Hunter Brown (CrB).
182: Grant Authelet (Wolf) p. Oraldo Visha (CrB).
195: Robbie Balke (CrB) p. Zachary Morton (Lee).
220: Vincent Approbato (CrB) p. Craig Harper (Lee).
285: Robert Elder (Mat) p. Ryan Piersza (BT).

THE ACES OF THE DAY
Creekside Black: Robbie Balke (195) pinned his way through the bracket for one of the Black side’s three titles. After a bye into the semis, Balke had a fall over Wolfson before his championship-round pin.
Matanzas: Logan Mayer (132) won three times for his bracket. Prior to his decision victory in the final, Mayer won by fall over Paxon and by technical fall over Wolfson to advance to the championship round.
Bartram Trail: Mayhem Woolsey (120) won by fall twice to take the title, with pins over Creekside Red and Black wrestlers to win his first IBT crown for the Bears.
Wolfson: Grant Authelet (182) pinned his way through the bracket, with a bye into the semis and a fall over a fellow Ace to get to the championship match, where he picked up his second pin.
Robert E Lee: Ahmahd Denmark (170) pinned his way through the tournament, including his finals win in one of the marquee matches of the day. Denmark had prior pins over Ribault and Bartram Trail wrestlers in reaching the championship match.
Atlantic Coast: Nick Shay (145) rallied from a semifinal loss by decision to the eventual runnerup to come back and place third for a 3-1 tournament. Shay had a pin over Creekside Red on the front and consi-side pins over Wolfson and Matanzas to take third.
Bishop Snyder: Christian Villanueva (126) was the Cardinals’ lone finalist after a 1-1 tournament, with a semifinal pin over Terry Parker prior to his loss in the final.
Creekside Red: Joseph Bartels (182) was 2-1 at 182, with his only loss to the eventual champion and a fellow Ace in the semis. Bartels had a pin over Paxon on the front side, and a third-place fall over the same Paxon wrestler in the medal match.
Paxon: Matthew Brunelli (195) took fourth with a 2-2 day, with losses to the eventual runnerup and in the third-place match to Wolfson. Brunelli had pins over wrestlers from Bartram Trail and Terry Parker.
Ribault: Breon Jordan (160) reached the final at his weight class, with a 2-1 tournament for the Trojans. Before falling to a fellow Ace in the final, Jordan had pins over wrestlers from Paxon and Baldwin.
Stanton: Matthew Mock (132) was 1-2 on the day, with a win by fall over Robert E Lee in the pigtail round, and losses to two eventual placers (to third-place Wolfson wrestler in the quarters and fourth-place Matanzas wrestler in the consis).
Baldwin: Taylor Davenport (160) was 1-2 in the tournament and one match from placing in his bracket, with a fall over Paxon and losses by fall to the eventual runnerup and fourth-place wrestlers from Ribault and Creekside, respectively.

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WEEKEND TOURNAMENTS

#Greyhound: MTZ Girls 7th, Blackburn Wins 126

Clay junior Madisyn Blackburn (126) was the area’s only champion Saturday at Lyman (Photo submitted by Clay Wrestling team FB page).

LONGWOOD — While most of central Florida’s attention, and a good chunk of the state’s, was fixed on state duals in Kissimmee over the weekend, six area girls’ teams had representation at Lyman’s Greyhound Open, which returned this year after a year’s absence from the schedule.

Among the local teams, Matanzas was tops in the event, placing seventh with 61 points. The Lady Pirates had two seconds and one third among the group.

University (Orange City) was 10th with 31.5 points (with one third and one fourth), followed by Clay (11th, 28, one champion), Middleburg & Oakleaf (T-17th, 12 points each) and Seminole (20th, four). The Broncos had one runnerup and Knights one third.

Brackets from the tournament can be found HERE.

THE NOTES
Team scores: 1. Freedom 190. 2. Dr Phillips 112. 3. South Dade 91. 4. Apopka 75. 5. Osceola 64. 6. Hagerty 63. 7. Matanzas 61. 8. Gateway 57. 9. University (Orlando) 43.5. 10. University (Orange City) 31.5. 11. Clay 28. 12. Braddock 24. 13. Colonial 20. 14. West Orange 18. 15. East River 15. 16. Oviedo 14. 17. (tie) Middleburg & Oakleaf 12. 19. Poinciana 11. 20. Seminole 4. 21. (tie) Lake Howell & Oak Ridge 3. 23. (tie) East Lee County & Sebastian River 0.
Championship matches —
97: Duran (South Dade) p. Gracie Bradshaw (Middleburg), 2:50.
106: Marcillo (Univ-ORL) p. Sills (Univ-ORL), 1:48.
113: Picado (Braddock) d. Galvin (Freedom), 3-1.
120: Rees (Freedom) md. Riley White (Matanzas), 11-0.
126: Madisyn Blackburn (Clay) p. Martinez (Osceola), 2:32.
132: Llamido (Hagerty) p. Ferreter (Freedom), 1:00.
138: Gregoire (Apopka) p. Wilken-Yoder (Hagerty), :35.
145: Arroyo-Nichols (Freedom) md. Lugo (Osceola), 8-0.
152: L. Gallo (South Dade) p. Amy Etienne (Dr Phillips), 1:00.
160: Gregoire (Apopka) p. Morgan Morrison (Matanzas), 2:22.
170: Y. Gallo (South Dade) d. Chestnut (West Orange), 6-0.
182: Chavez (Freedom) p. Martinez (Gateway), 1:32.
195: Joseph (Gateway) p. Thomas (Freedom), 1:00.
220: Amb. Etienne (Dr Phillips) p. Bachmann (Apopka), 1:00.

THE ACES OF THE DAY
Matanzas: Senior Riley White (120) was 3-1 and took one of the Lady Pirates’ runnerup finishes. Before her loss in the final, White had pins over wrestlers from Gateway, Freedom and a Matanzas teammate.
University (Orange City): Freshman Katie Roche (106) was 3-1 in the tournament to place third with a 6-4 loss only to the runnerup. Roche won by decision over Colonial on the front with a pin on the back over Freedom, plus a 9-1 major over Colonial for third.
Clay: Junior Madisyn Blackburn (126) pinned her way through the tournament, with four falls in all, to win the only area championship. Before her fall in the finals over Osceola, Blackburn had pins over wrestlers from Freedom, Hagerty and Dr Phillips.
Middleburg: Freshman Gracie Bradshaw (97) was second with a 1-1 tournament, winning by fall over Freedom and taking a loss by fall to South Dade.
Oakleaf: Freshman Jazzmine Moore (182) had a 2-1 tournament, opening with a 5-3 loss to the eventual runnerup. Moore then had pins over wrestlers from East Lee County and Dr Phillips to rally back for third.
Seminole: Sophomore Brianna Pena (113) was 1-2 on the day, with a front-side decision over Colonial (9-6) and losses to the eventual runnerup and third-place wrestlers.

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STATE DUALS

#1Astateduals: Pirates Hijack War Eagle Bid For Finals

Wakulla’s Julian Harvey (106) was the War Eagles’ lone bright light in the 1A state semifinals against Palm Bay on Saturday at Osceola HS, shown here winning by fall (Photo by Shannon Heaton; more Wakulla action photos are accessible on the Matmen Instagram page, nflamatmen).

KISSIMMEE — Each of the previous two seasons, it took the juggernaut of the US Southeast, Lake Highland Prep, to end Wakulla’s runs at the FHSAA 1A state dual tournament.

Saturday, in the FHSAA 1A state semifinals at Osceola, it was Palm Bay, and not the Highlanders, that represented Region 2, but the Pirates sure seemed equally formidable from the War Eagles were standing.

Palm Bay allowed just one Wakulla victory, a third-period fall from Julian Harvey at 106, in suffocating the War Eagles’ hope for a third straight 1A finals appearance with a 57-6 semifinal win.

“He’s opening up. Being super offensive, and he’s really embraced it,” Wakulla coach William Pafford said. “His dad was a state champ, and it’s tough to follow in those kinds of footsteps.

“But he’s done a really good job.”

The Pirates delivered big hits and small blows in otherwise mostly throttling the War Eagle attacks Saturday morning. Palm Bay had four pins, three of them coming early as the Pirates built a 28-0 lead.

Wakulla (26-3) had hopes that Harvey’s fall would jumpstart a restart, but Palm Bay did to the War Eagles what they do to most teams, closing out the dual with seven straight victories, four of them ending by decision.

That gave a sense that Wakulla was in it, competitively, against the Pirates, but at the same time the War Eagles were swimming in cement.

“For me, life’s about moments, and these kids got this moment, and I’m thankful for that, because many states out there aren’t wrestling right now,” Pafford said of his team, which is scheduled to host the MyHOUSE Big Bend one-day IBT on January 30.

“In terms of the matches, we had about four swing matches there. Of course, I want them to do better, and of course we have things to work on, but I’m just glad we were here.”

As good as Palm Bay was, Somerset Academy was just a little bit better on Saturday. The Panthers opened with a rout of Lemon Bay, 67-9, in the semis, racking up 10 pins and an 11th bonus-point win with a major. Somerset won by fall at nine weights in a row, from 285 through 152.

In the championship dual, the Panthers became the first 1A school other than Lake Highland Prep, which won the title each of the previous three seasons, to win a state duals title, after taking a 33-28 victory over Palm Bay. Four straight wins from 132 through 152 helped the Panthers rally back for the win, as Skyler Caban (132) won by fall, Darian Estevez (152) took a 12-2 major and Chase Gillis (7-3 at 138) and Bas Diaz (4-3 at 145) both won by decisions.

Box scores for all of the 1A matches from Friday and Saturday can be found HERE.

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STATE DUALS

#3Astateduals: Riverdale Pins Take Down FIHS

Fleming Island wrestlers gather for a team photo Saturday afternoon at Osceola HS in Kissimmee (Photo by Meridyth Smith; action photos from Saturday can be found on the Matmen Instagram account, nflamatmen).

KISSIMMEE — If you’re feeling faint in the heart, perhaps just stay away from the North Florida Wrestling Academy facility, locally just known as “the warehouse,” over the next couple of days.

There’ll be a keyed-up group of Fleming Island kids rallying back behind a set of hard practices after Saturday’s 39-27 3A state semifinal loss to Riverdale at Osceola HS.

“Not now,” said Golden Eagles coach PJ Cobbert, asked if it would be difficult for his group to regain motivation after the loss.

“Not now. Sometimes you don’t learn much from a win. There’s some hurt boys over there, but that hurt’s got to be short-lived. We’ll get back to work tomorrow, get right back in the mix. They’re going to have to learn how to overcome adversity.”

Cobbert had noted Friday night after the Golden Eagles’ Region 1 title win over Timber Creek that defending against turns and nearfall situations was going to be critical on Saturday.

It was.

While several Fleming wrestlers had success setting the pace on top, with seven wins and turns for back points in all but one of them, Riverdale proved equally adept, if not even a little more so, racking up six pins, five of them coming in a six-match run that ultimately doomed the Golden Eagles’ chances of reaching the state final for the third time in the four-year history of the FHSAA duals tournament.

“Gotta wrestle six minutes, and I told them you’ve got to get bonus (points),” Cobbert said. “They’re a big-move type of team that likes to swing for the fences, while we want to wear people down. Sometimes you’ve got to take body blows, and we didn’t take them well.”

The Golden Eagles had a solid run between 170 and 106, dropping just one match in that stretch — and in overtime on a 50-50 call to boot. Joseph Forte (106) won by fall in the second period, with Jhoel Robinson (13-1 at 170) and Hunter Williams (18-6) having their way with turns for major decisions. Gavin Smith (6-5 at 182) and Raul Gonzalez (3-0 at 220) added decisions during that stretch.

After that, though, Fleming Island (14-1) took just two victories, giving up five pins in the closeout of the dual. David Parkes (152) ended the dual with a 14-4 major and Riley Holton (126) took a 9-2 win.

“I have so much respect for Fleming Island. We knew we had to match their intensity; if we didn’t come out and meet them punch-for-punch, we would be in trouble,” Riverdale coach Kris Hayward said. “Every single match was tough. We wrestle that dual 10 times, we probably get five and they probably get five.”

In the other semifinal, Ft Pierce Central took the opening lead against defending three-time champion South Dade, but the Buccaneers took win streaks of four, four and three weight classes to roll to a 55-13 victory.

In the championship, South Dade trailed again early, but back-to-back-to-back wins from Joshua Swan (182), Sawyer Bartelt (195) and Craig Silimon (220), and again from Luis Acevedo (106), Adrian Morales (113) and Joshua Aviles (120) allowed the Buccaneers to nearly double up Riverdale, 45-24, for their fourth FHSAA duals title, a feat no other Florida school has accomplished.

Box scores for all of the 3A matches from Friday and Saturday can be found HERE.

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STATE DUALS

#2Astateduals: Champion Braves Roll Past NSB In Semi

New Smyrna Beach’s Jamey Bruner (right) attempts to fend off a single-leg shot by Lake Gibson’s Hayden Whidden during the 2A state semis Saturday morning at Osceola HS in Kissimmee (Photo by Shannon Heaton; more New Smyrna Beach action photos are posted on the Matmen Instagram page, nflamatmen).

KISSIMMEE — In the world of wrestling, David doesn’t always take down Goliath.

Saturday, in the semifinals of the 2A state duals tournament at Osceola HS, the scrappy Davids of New Smyrna Beach had few answers for the juggernaut Lake Gibson program, which had won the 2020 state traditional title and won state duals in 2019.

The Braves jumped out to a 17-0 lead; after the ‘Cudas got on the board with Doug Dittmer’s second-period fall at 195, Lake Gibson then tacked another eight wins in a row to cruise to a 60-18 win over New Smyrna Beach.

In the final, the Braves held off Palmetto Ridge, 39-32, to win their third 2A state duals championship. New Smyrna Beach (16-2) goes back to the drawing board with an appearance at Flagler Palm Coast’s Flagler Rotary on Friday and Saturday.

“We knew it would be a tough go, and we had some chances to score some points, but you make a mistake, they will put you on your back, and that happened to us,” ‘Cudas coach Kevin Kehoe said.

“We ran into a buzzsaw, but we’ll be back and we’ll see some of those guys at states. We’re looking forward to it.”

Lake Gibson got out to the 17-point gap behind pins at 170 and 182, plus a tech fall at 160, before Dittmer won by fall in 2:40 at 195.

Things went from bad to mostly worse over the next eight weights, as the Braves took bonus points in seven of those, with pins at 220, 113, 132 and 138, tech falls at 120 and 126 and a 6-4 win at 106.

The ‘Cudas got some positive momentum in closing out the dual, with pins from Michael Shannon (145) and Hunter Childress (152), both in the first period.

In the other semifinal, Palmetto Ridge spotted Southridge a 12-0 lead and the Region 4 champs were able to maintain it through the 285 weight clas, but the Bears came back to win seven of the next eight matches, all of them with max-points (six by pin) to take a 52-22 win.

The championship dual saw the Braves trail just once, 22-18, following a Bernardo Barnhart pin at 113 in favor of the Bears. After that, Lake Gibson took wins in five of the final seven weight classes, with pins from Alex Walker (120) and Hayden Whidden (126), plus decisions from Blake Walker (8-6 at 132), Brendon Abdon (152) and Jason Lemmond (160) to secure the Braves’ third state duals win.

Box scores for all of the 2A matches from Friday and Saturday can be found HERE.

JOIN us on Facebook at North Florida Matmen (you can also friend me on my personal page) or on Twitter at @NorthFLAMatmen, or on Instagram at nflamatmen.
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REGION DUALS

#3Aregion1: FIHS Dominates For 4th Straight Region Title

Fleming Island’s Hunter Williams (195) with one of multiple turns he had Friday night at the 3A-Region 1 final against Timber Creek at Osceola HS in Kissimmee (Photo by Shannon Heaton; more action photos can be found at the Matmen Instagram account, nflamatmen).

KISSIMMEE — It didn’t feel as close as even 55 to 19.

Fleming Island dominated the scene Friday night in the 3A-Region 1 final, rolling up eight straight wins between 138 and 220 against Timber Creek at Osceola HS, taking seven of those wins by pin, and most of those in very short order.

The result was a 55-19 victory and fourth straight Region 1 championship for the Golden Eagles (14-0), and it felt like even more of a blowout than it actually was. Several first-period falls over the Wolfpack had a lot to do with that.

“Kids had a great week, great week of practice,” Fleming Island coach PJ Cobbert said. “So many young kids, still behind on matches, numbers of matches that we’d like them to have going into the district tournament.

“But they’re getting there.”

The win marks Fleming Island as the only northern team to win four region duals titles.

Fleming Island will face Riverdale in the 3A state semifinals on Saturday morning. Riverdale knocked off 2020 state finalist Osceola, 39-26, to win the Region 2 title Friday afternoon.

Start time is a little bit fluid, around 11 a.m.; as soon as 1A/2A semifinal mats are open, 3A semis will begin. The winner will compete in the state final, which are set in all classes for 1 p.m., even with the later start for the two 3A semis. A Golden Eagles win would be their third appearance in the final, joining earlier efforts in 2018 and 2019.

The Golden Eagles never trailed against Timber Creek, dominating from jump on Riley Holton’s third-period tech fall in 5:16 at 126. While one of the Wolfpack’s aces picked up a decision at 132, that would be the last points that they would score until the meet was put far out of doubt.

In the meantime, Fleming picked up falls from Garrett Cole (1:28 at 138), David Parkes (1:46 at 152), Joshua Sandoval (1:17 at 160), Jhoel Robinson (1:00 at 170), Gavin Smith (:34 at 182), Hunter Williams (3:17 at 195) and Raul Gonzalez (1:40 at 220). In barely more than 11 minutes, the Golden Eagles racked up 42 points, with a decision win from Matthew Kotler as well, by a 10-9 count at 145.

“It went mostly like I expected, the four that we won were the four I expected we would win,” Wolfpack coach Jonathan Cone said. “Those will be big in the region and in the state. We competed, we wrestled hard, and it was a good experience for the guys.”

But the Golden Eagles weren’t done yet, even after the Wolfpack tacked on 10 more points via fall at 285 and a 19-5 major at 106. Hunter Herrington needed just 92 seconds for Fleming’s eighth pin of the night. Timber Creek would close out the dual with a fall at 120.

“Our younger kids have got to stay off their backs. You can’t go to your back, especially in duals. Any time in wrestling really. We just have to get tougher mentally,” Cobbert said.

“Now, we’ll just go back (to the hotel), relax, put our feet up, and tomorrow we’ll dance with what we brought.”

Ft Pierce Central rolled past Wellington, 51-20, to win the Region 3 title, while South Dade put itself in position to reach its fourth straight 3A final, and possible championship, with a 62-9 win over Cypress Bay. Summaries on the other three regions follow:

Region 2: Two 15-0 runs propelled Riverdale to the Region 2 title, with three wins in a row from 160-182 (including pins from Dominic Rodriguez at 170 and Jonathan Lavandera at 182) and again from 220-106 (with pins from Shayne Parris at 220 and Jon Baxter at 285).

Region 3: After spotting Wellington leads of 5-0 and 14-5, Ft Pierce Central dominated, with six straight wins between 170 and 106, with pins from Kevin Finn (170), Charles Allison (182), Steven Krantz (195) and Gabriel Jacas (220), plus a major from its backup 285, Henry Jones (12-3).

Region 4: The Buccaneers tore through the first 10 matches, building a 51-0 lead, with pins from Misha Arbos (126), Gavin Balmeceda (132), Adrian Neco (145) and Joshua Swan (170), plus three forfeit victories. Cypress Bay scored its only wins at the bookends, with a double-overtime decision at 285 and fall at 106.

Box scores for all of these duals can be found HERE.

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REGION DUALS

#2Aregion1: ‘Cudas Seal Deal With First Region Title

New Smyrna Beach’s Michael Shannon (top) hits a cradle during 145-lb action in Friday’s 2A-Region 1 final dual between the Barracudas and Pace at Osceola HS in Kissimmee (Photo by Shannon Heaton; more action photos on New Smyrna Beach v Pace are accessible on the Matmen Instagram account at nflamatmen).

KISSIMMEE — Something had to give in the 2A-Region 1 dual tournament final between first-time finalists New Smyrna Beach and Pace.

Ultimately, it was the Panhandle-side Patriots that gave way Friday at Osceola HS, as the Barracudas controlled both ends, early and late, of the dual as New Smyrna Beach went on to take a 43-27 victory over Pace.

The ‘Cudas (16-1) built early leads of 8-0 and 12-3, and also closed with a flourish, winning the final four contested matches with maximum points.

“It might not have been a perfect start, but it was a good start. Our kids are a cohesive, tight-knit group,” New Smyrna Beach coach Kevin Kehoe said. “Obviously we’ve still got things to work on, but we’re getting better every day.

“The room has such a good energy.”

The ‘Cudas will need that on Saturday, as they’ll face 2019 dual state champions Lake Gibson in the semis at 10 a.m., with the winner advancing to a 1 p.m. finals dual. The Braves took down 2020 state champion Tampa Jesuit, 37-29, in the Region 2 final.

NSBHS got an 8-0 start behind a third-period tech fall from Jace Engberg (16-0 in 5:17), plus Jamey Bruner’s 9-6 win at 126. Pace would get three back on an 11-5 win from Camden Friend at 138, but the ‘Cudas’ Michael Shannon was one turn short of a tech fall, taking a 13-0 major at 145.

The Patriots (6-1) made a charge from 152-182, taking three pins out of those four matches, with Seth O’Gara (4:45 at 152), Brody Andrews (:53 at 170) and Aiden Bryan (1:15 at 182) winning by and taking their only lead of the dual, 21-18.

“We’re blessed to be here,” Pace coach Reggie Allen said. “The boys did good; we had a hard drive yesterday getting down here. First time some of them have been to Orlando when it comes to wrestling. Pace has come a long way. Last time we beat Lincoln (to qualify for the Region 1 final) was Wakulla Duals in 2012.”

The lead was short-lived, though, as NSB’s Doug Dittmer (9-3 win at 195) and Austin Mitchum (fall in 1:19 at 220) gave the ‘Cudas a lead that Pace would not see again.

“As wrestled As twice (at 145 and 195, where A-level kids faced off) and the second time, that’s where the mistake was made; I would normally have sent Wyatt (Dillon, who fell to Dittmer at 195) at 220, and that was my mistake,” Allen said.

New Smyrna Beach forfeited to Pace’s Kegan O’Shell at 285, and those would be the Patriots’ final points, as the ‘Cudas bonus-pointed out the dual, with pins from Aidan Sutton (113) and Tristen Winfrey (120), plus a 12-1 major from Simjay Engberg at 106.

Afterward, Jace Engberg, Sutton and Hunter Childress (152) celebrated with backflips in light of the NSB victory.

“We weren’t looking past Pace at all,” Kehoe said of the prospect of facing a Lake Gibson in the state semis. “We’ll let them enjoy this, see how we match up, come out, wrestle our best and compete. That’s what I’m looking forward to (Saturday).”

Palmetto Ridge came from behind to defeat Charlotte, 37-34, for the Region 3 title, while Southridge pushed past Heritage, 42-30, to win in Region 4. Summaries for the other three regions follow:

Region 2: After Jesuit built a 17-0 lead through the first five weights, Lake Gibson broke through with Brendon Abdon’s fall at 160. The Braves then won five weights in a row, from 182 through 106, behind a 27-0 run that included three Jesuit forfeits. In the final match, Alex Walker clinched it for Lake Gibson with a 9-0 shutout major at 120.

Region 3: The Tarpons started fast, with a 10-0 lead that they rebuilt into a 29-16 gap with five weights to go, but Palmetto Ridge answered with three pins from Austin Foye (285), Tyler Washburn (106) and Jean Valoria (120) and a 5-4 win from Antonio Petraglia (220) down the stretch.

Region 4: Like their semifinal opponents did in Region 3, Southridge came back with a late rush to take the victory, with four pins in the final five weights. Dedric Marshall (220), Marcelo Rosario (285), Fredrick Mitchum (106) and Conner Hueck (120) each won by fall down the stretch to pull Southridge into the lead for good.

Box scores for all four duals can be found HERE.

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REGION DUALS

#1Aregion1: War Eagles Claim Episode IV, Region Title

Wakulla 285 Jayven Hearns (back) looks to assert control prior to winning by fall Friday morning in the 1A-Region 1 final against Clay at Osceola HS in Kissimmee (Photo by Shannon Heaton; more action photos from Wakulla v Clay can be found on the Matmen Instagram account, nflamatmen).

KISSIMMEE — Some sequels never disappoint.

And Clay vs Wakulla, Part IV, surely didn’t Friday morning in the 1A-Region 1 championship dual staged at Osceola HS, on the first day of the FHSAA state tournament.

Ultimately, as they did in 2019 and again last year, the War Eagles would prevail and move on to Saturday’s state semifinals, though the Blue Devils made them earn every point in a 36-35 dual victory.

The War Eagles will face Palm Bay in Saturday’s 1A state semifinals at 10 a.m. Finals, for all three classes, are scheduled for 1 p.m. Palm Bay rolled past Hernando, 61-12, on Friday to win the Region 2 title.

“It was fun. I love it,” Wakulla coach William Pafford, with equal measure accuracy and relief in the voice, after the victory.

“Having those moments, that’s what it’s all about. Moments they can take for the rest of their lives.”

Wakulla (25-2) had a few anxious moments, particularly early on, as Clay (8-2) built leads 14-0 and 26-3.

The Blue Devils jumped out behind three bonus-point wins from Chandler Thomas (fall at 132) and majors from Gunner Ivey (15-1 at 126) and Luke Boree (9-0 at 138).

Wakulla got one back, only just, on a 5-4 Hayden Reeves win at 145, but the Blue Devils got back-to-back pins from Dominic Martin (152) and Cale Hoskinson (160) to build a 23-point lead not even halfway through the dual.

“We wanted the guys to go out and compete. We had our chances,” Clay coach Jim Reape said.

“But, partially, it was death by a thousand cuts.”

Those cuts started drawing blood at 170 and ever after, as the War Eagles strung together back-to-back-to-back falls from 170-195 from Cole Baggett (170), Jackson Osteen (182) and Tyler Edenfield (195).

Clay got six back on Garrett Tyre’s fall at 220 to restart a double-digit lead at 32-21, but Wakulla pinned back-to-back at the bookends, as Jayven Hearns (285) and Julian Harvey (106) pins got the War Eagles their first lead, 33-32.

“We had some young guys that got put in jeopardy and we didn’t do enough on bottom to stay off our backs,” Reape said. “I’m proud of the progress we made, but sometimes you don’t know until you get into live situations that you can’t always do the junior-high things that used to work.”

Clay got the lead back on Maverick Rainwater’s 8-1 decision at 113, but Wakulla’s Raymond Hatchman slammed the door with a 5-3 win at 120.

“That’s what sucks with Covid; normally we’d go and do something fun, but we have to go back and sit in the dadgum hotel room,” Pafford said. “We can go eat something. Hang out, watch film and game plan.

“We didn’t get to see Palm Bay (at St Cloud’s Bulldog Brawl last month). We crapped the bed against Winter Springs and Harmony and we never got to wrestle them.”

Lemon Bay romped past Anclote, 78-3, to win the Region 3 title, while Somerset Academy took the Region 4 title with a 40-21 victory over Cardinal Gibbons.

Brief summaries of the other region duals follow:

Region 2: Palm Bay built a 43-0 lead, clinching the dual before allowing Hernando on the scoreboard behind eight straight wins, including pins from Rocco Senia (126), Braden Baxter (132), Ronald Theilacker (138), Nathan Furman (145), Anthony Holden (152) and Alexzander Owens (182).

Region 3: The Manta Rays won the first 10 weights, seven of them by pin, before Anclote got on the board with a decision at 285. Johnathon Hartsikov-Newsome (126), Justin Brady (132), Ashton Tucker (138), Caleb Corridino (145), Austin Werden (152), Marcus Lopez (160) and Louis Baldor (195) each had pins during that early run.

Region 4: Somerset had a key stretch from 145 through 160 where it went on a 15-0 run, with Bas Diaz (152) and Darian Estevez (160) each taking pins and Chase Gillis (145) had an 8-2 win as part of that run. The Panthers won five of the last seven matches of the dual as well.

Box scores from all of today’s duals can be found HERE.

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MIDWEEK DUALS

#DailyRdp: 01/20 Duals

Fletcher’s Joel Rodriguez sets the pace in the Senators’ 52-21 victory over Episcopal Wednesday night at Episcopal. More on this dual inside the #DailyRdp. (Photo by Shannon Heaton; more action photos from the dual can be found at Matmen’s Instagram account, nflamatmen).

DELAND — Just one point separated 5 Star Conference rivals DeLand and Mainland Wednesday night.

A pair of 3-match runs from 106-120 and 152-170 helped the Bulldogs escape with a 39-38 victory.

Mainland (8-10) had a four-match run of its own from 126 through 145, as Isaias Davila (138) and Josh Rodgers (145) had pins and Brian Harris (126) took a 15-1 major, with a forfeit victory at 132. Brady Howe (220) won with a 19-11 major and the Buccaneers would collect a forfeit victory at 285.

Due to missing results from the Showdown at O-Town event last Saturday, individual recaps and an updated season record on the Bulldogs were not possible at this writing. DeLand next will wrestle on February 3 against Atlantic; the Buccaneers will wrestle Atlantic next, also, but on January 28.

University (Orange City) 51, Deltona 21: At Orange City, in another 5 Star Conference matchup, the Titans (5-4) picked up five forfeit victories against a shorter-handed Wolves side.

University got pins from Luke Harrod (145), Cooper Braden (152) and Austin Rosser (170), with Christian Kennick taking a 1-0 win at 220.

Deltona (1-8) duplicated UOC’s output in contested matches, with pins from Dianna Pineda (106), Kevin Kerns (120) and Chris Nash (285). Austin Stevenson-Hiley (132) chipped an 8-1 win.

Both teams are off until January 27. The Titans will host Matanzas, while Deltona will host Atlantic.

Chiles 51, Florida High 27: At Chiles, the hosts ran up nine weight class wins, with forfeit victories at 106, 113, 120 and 182 providing the margin of victory.

The Timberwolves (10-3) collected falls from Jae Garay (132), Preston Scoggins (145), Alex Adkins (152) and Andrew Mullins (160), with Kyle McGill pulling together a 13-6 win at 195.

Florida High (4-7) also had four pins from Tyler Reeve (126), John Campbell (170), Amarrie Harris (220) and Adam Stinson (285), with Emil Ganim taking a 7-3 decision at 138.

Chiles is off until Tuesday, when it hosts Leon; Florida High goes on the road to region rival Bay this weekend and its 2nd annual George Mulligan Memorial, Friday and Saturday.

Fletcher 52, Episcopal 21: At Episcopal, the Senators (12-4) broke open a close dual with seven wins in the final eight weight classes against the Eagles (18-6).

Falls from Gabe Daltro (145) and Joel Rodriguez (152) got things started for Fletcher, which went on to get pins from Ryan Klein (195) and Ethan Hollenbach (220), plus an injury-default win for Toby Matson (285) and a 9-1 major at 170 from Christopher Strong. The Senators also took forfeit wins at 120 and 132.

Episcopal hung in early behind a third-period fall from Scott Busey (113) and decisions from Cohen Chesser (8-3 at 106), Christian Ryan (6-5 in double overtime at 126) and Noah Meyer (5-3 at 138). Flynn Stapleton (160) later added a fall for the Eagles.

Episcopal returns to the mats on Tuesday for an away dual at Bolles, while Fletcher is now off until January 27, when the Senators host Ponte Vedra.

Robert E Lee tri-meet: At Lee, three tight dual meets were staged, with the host Generals taking wins over First Coast (33-24) and Englewood (39-30). In the opening round, the Rams held off the Buccaneers, 33-30.

Double winners for Robert E Lee (4-4 in duals for the season) were Alexa Dramis (120), Jamal Burkes (126, pin over Englewood), Gerard Kennedy (145, decision over First Coast, pin over Englewood), Zachary Morton (195, 2 pins) and Jeremy Porter (220, decision over Englewood).

For the Rams (7-4), Royce Reeves (106), Raequan Staples (113), Noah Price (126), Lynden North (138, decision over First Coast, pin over Robert E Lee) and Darryl Sam (182) each won twice.

First Coast (3-6) got a pair of victories each from Domorrien Wright (132, pin over Englewood), Isaiah Tucker (152, pin over Robert E Lee) and Alphonso Parsons (170).

The Generals will host another tri-meet (teams unknown to us) on Tuesday, while Englewood will be at Raines on Tuesday. First Coast is off until the Gateway Conference two-day tournament at Fletcher on January 29-30.

Still waiting on: For this roundup, we are still looking for the Deltona at University (Orange City) dual. Will update if receive a timely scoresheet.

Box scores: Results for these duals can be found HERE.

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